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By Willa Holland

Diageo Plc

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the company’s global businesses: Diageo has lost revenue in markets due to lockdowns, and the fact that some countries have placed bans on alcohol. It is also facing higher expenses. On the bright side, the company should benefit in FY21 from the consumer stockpiling of wines and spirits. We also like Diageo’s geographic diversity and its ability to benefit from growth trends in the beer and spirits businesses. Our long-term rating remains BUY, as we believe that efforts to reallocate resources and invest in the company’s most promising products bode well for future growth.


On August 4, 2020, Diageo reported preliminary results for fiscal 2020 (ended June 30, 2020). Diageo reported that FY20 net sales fell 8.7% to 11.8 billion pounds ($15.3 billion) implying an 11% volume decline. The decline was driven by weak sales of Guinness, Scotch, and Vodka, offset in part by strong sales of Tequila and Whiskey in North America. Organic revenue fell 8.4%, a 7.3% decline, driven by the negative impact of COVID-19 in the second half. Organic operating profit fell 14%, reflecting volume declines, lower organic revenue, and cost increases, offset in part by productivity gains.

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There was a 13% decline in organic operating profit. Fiscal 2020 operating earnings fell to $5.51 per ADS, down from $6.74 in fiscal 2019. The company remains committed to paying its ordinary dividend and made a payment of $1.36 per ADR on April 14. In early 2019, Diageo sold 19 mostly lower-priced brands to Sazerac, a privately held American distiller that makes Southern Comfort whiskey. Sazerac paid $550 million in cash for the brands. Diageo will use the $340 million in after-tax proceeds to repurchase shares, invest in key brands, and boost organic revenue growth.

At about 2-times sales, Diageo appears to have obtained a reasonable price for the divested brands, which include Seagrams VO Canadian whiskey, Sambuca, Yukon Jack, and Goldschlager cinnamon schnapps. The transaction is expected to benefit earnings in the U.S. over the next several years as Diageo pursues its ‘premiumization’ strategy by selling large volumes of higher-margin wine and spirits. We estimate that the transaction and subsequent investments in core brands will add about 20 basis points to organic revenue growth over the next several years. However, the divestitures are unlikely to move the needle enough for us to revise our earnings estimates.

Logo of Diageo. Wikimedia commons


We are reducing our FY21 earnings estimate to $5.90 from $6.40 per share and setting an FY22 estimate of $6.50. Our revision reflects pandemic pressures, difficulties foreign exchange headwinds in various markets. Our organic growth estimates are down slightly from our prior estimates. We see organic revenue growth of just under 3, reflecting 0.1%, and organic operating profit growth of 4.0% (down from 4.2% previously), with the bulk of the growth occurring in the second half of FY21. However, we expect continued challenges in the first half. We believe that share repurchases are unlikely to resume at least not until the company’s net debt/EBITDA ratio improves.


Our financial strength rating on Diageo is Medium. In FY20, Diageo arranged a 2.5 billion euro credit facility and took other steps to bolster liquidity. Net debt at the end of FY20 totaled just under 7.9 billion euros and was 3.0-times EBITDA, up from 2.5-times in FY19. The full-year ROIC decreased 260 basis points to 12.8%. Diageo remains committed to paying a dividend and we expect another increase over the next 12 months. The company paid a dividend of $2.00 per ADR on August 8, reflecting a 2.9% decrease. $4.00 (reduced from $4.20) is expected for FY21 and $4.40 for FY22.


Operating in about 80 countries, Diageo is exposed to significant foreign currency and commodity price risks. It also relies on acquisitions to help drive earnings growth, and its share price could be hurt if these purchases fail to generate the expected cost and revenue synergies. Ivan Menezes succeeded Paul Walsh as CEO in 2018. Mr. Menezes faces a range of challenges, including disappointing sales of Smirnoff in the U.S. and decelerating growth in emerging markets.


Diageo plc, manufactures, markets, and sells alcoholic beverages worldwide. The company offers a variety of brands in the spirits, beer, cider, and wine categories. DEO’s brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J&B, and Windsor whiskies; Smirnoff, Ciroc, and Ketel One vodkas; Captain Morgan, Don Julio, Tanqueray, and Guinness. Diageo plc was established in 1886 and is based in London.

Oge Energy Corp


Our revised estimates assume continued low natural gas prices as well as lower earnings distributions from Enable Midstream. At the same time, we see annual kilowatt-hour sales growth of an above-average 1.2%-1.3%, brought about by the addition of new generating assets.

OGE Energy plans to increase capital expenditures. Pixabay


OGE Energy plans to increase capital expenditures for electric system reliability upgrades in 2021 and 2022, and its strong cash flow should cover almost 70% of this cost. In addition, we believe that OGE will maintain its disciplined approach to capital spending. We expect $1.57 in 2020 and $1.63 in 2021. 5.4% of which should provide downside support for the stock and be attractive to income-oriented investors.


Sean Trauschke is the CEO of OGE Energy Corp. and OG&E. He has been the CEO of the company since June 2015 and has been on the board of OGE Energy and OG&E since May 2015. Stephen Merrill has been the CFO of OGE Energy Corp. since July 2014. He previously served as EVP of Finance at Enable Midstream Partners. His career boasts of 30 years of diversified experience in the oil and natural gas industries.


OGE is also the holder of a 26.3% general partner interest in Enable Midstream Partners LP, a natural gas pipeline and processing business with operations in Oklahoma and Texas. We view the company’s visible forward earnings stream and attractive integrated structure, along with management’s demonstrated execution ability, as compelling reasons for investors to maintain their current positions.

Catalent Inc

Catalent is ramping up its production capacity to manufacture potential coronavirus vaccines and has agreements with three of the leading vaccine developers – Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and AstraZeneca. It has also significantly expanded its manufacturing capacity for cell and gene therapies. The company reported strong fiscal 4Q20 results on August 31. Adjusted EPS rose 29% to $0.90 and topped the consensus estimate by $0.12. GAAP net income was $134.8 million or $0.85 per share, compared to $65.7 million or $0.44 per share a year earlier.

Logo of Catalent. WIkimedia commons

Revenue totaled $947.6 million (+31% as reported; +22% on an organic basis). Revenue was driven by both organic growth and acquisitions. These include the purchase of cell and gene therapy businesses and the acquisition (from Bristol-Myers Squibb) of a manufacturing and packaging facility for biologics, sterile products, and oral solid dose products in Italy. The company has also been expanding its manufacturing facility in Maryland. The company’s strongest 4Q growth was in the Biologics segment, which had revenue of $357.8 million (+102% reported; +66% organic). Organic growth was driven by U.S. drug product and drug substance offerings, and demand for vaccine services in the U.S. and Europe.

Despite significant spending on acquisitions and internal investments, profitability improved in 4Q. The adjusted EBITDA margin rose 70 basis points to 28.2%. For FY20, adjusted EPS rose to $2.11 from $1.81 a year earlier. GAAP net income was $173.0 million or $1.14 per share, compared to $132.0 million or $0.90 per share in FY19. Full-year revenue was $3.1 billion (+23% as reported; +12% on an organic basis).

Catalent ended fiscal 4Q20 with more than $1 billion in cash and cash equivalents. It raised $550 million in an equity offering in June. Catalent faces regulatory risks as its facilities, domestic and overseas, are regulated by the FDA and agencies in other countries. It faces integration risks as it acquires new facilities and businesses. It also faces operational risks as it expands production capacity in drug substance supply and in vial-filling and fill-finish.

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Based in Somerset, New Jersey, Catalent has four operating segments: Softgel and Oral Technologies; Biologics; Oral and Specialty Delivery; and Clinical Supply Services. The company has facilities around the world.


CTLT shares are trading at 36-times our FY21 EPS estimate, above the average multiple of 26 for our coverage universe of life science stocks. However, we believe that the stock merits a premium valuation based on the company’s large addressable market in manufacturing vaccines and other biologic drugs, its ability to gain and expand manufacturing agreements with COVID-19 vaccine developers, and strong long-term growth prospects.

(Disclaimer: The article is sponsored and hence, promotes some commercial links.)



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